Goodie Two Decks

Advanced Looks at Darkrai/Garbodor and Team Plasma
ash professor oak news phonepokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com
But first, let’s talk about the news!

With Regionals starting very soon I plan on spending a majority of this article discussing my top two deck choices for Regionals. Maybe not so surprisingly for me these two decks are Darkrai/ and Plasma.

Arguably these are the best two decks in the format and for very good reason. My main playstyle is to choose the best deck in the format and then focus on having a better list and playing the deck better than other people.

That’s why in this article I plan on covering my lists, discussing key cards, detailing the strategy of the decks, as well as showing how to approach different matchups. After reading this article I want you to thoroughly know how to play these decks and feel you can do so better than your opponents.

Before jumping into the deck discussion though, I do want to briefly cover the rule changes and strategies for the best-of-three format.

The Rule Changes

As I was writing this article we received the news about some major rule changes coming on November 8th. Here is what will be different:


First Turn

Flip a coin before drawing your opening hand. The winner of the coin flip now decides who goes first. Also, whoever goes first now can’t attack on his or her first turn. If you win the flip, decide carefully if you want the first turn or not!

Errata

Pokémon Catcher

Flip a coin. If heads, switch 1-of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with his or her Active Pokémon.

Changes: This card now requires a coin flip. (This makes Pokémon Catcher functionally identical to Pokémon Reversal.)

Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore

While there are no functional changes to these cards, you may not include both of them in your deck. That is, you may have up to 4 copies of Professor Juniper or up to 4 copies of Professor Sycamore—but if you have any Professor Juniper cards in your deck, you may not put any Professor Sycamore cards in your deck, and vice versa.


The decks that gain the most will be decks that can’t attack T1 (like Genesect) and/or decks that rely on using Tropical Beach T1 (like ). Both Plasma and Darkrai take a hit here, as Junk Hunt and Raiden Knuckle T1 are very important for the deck. Decks that rely heavily on Bench-sitters also get dramatically better like Blastoise and Garbodor variants.

There is a whole list of cards that become better with these rule changes. The three below are ones that I would expect to have a slight increase in value with these new rules.

Jirachi-EX

jirachi-ex-plasma-blast-plb-98-full-art
Finally, a consistency crutch!

Without the threat of Pokémon Catcher looming around we finally have a viable Pokémon consistency card. Personally I think a lot of decks will play 1 copy. The value will probably go up a little, but not too much.

Tropical Beach

Since you’re not able to attack T1, Tropical Beach is the perfect alternative. I think the card will become a staple in just about every deck, even more so than it is now. Value wise this card is going to shoot up and honestly it scares me how high it will reach.

I really hope Nintendo see this and issues a reprint or something. The card is really good for the game and is just about the only thing that makes Stage 2 decks viable. The only problem with the card is its value due to how hard it is to get.

Ninetales DRX

What Ninetales brings to the table is a built in Pokémon Catcher effect on a non-EX Pokémon with a decent attack that matches well against the format. A heads on the sleep flip from Hypnotoxic Laser allows Ninetales to hit for 100 damage before the Poison from Laser kicks in.

This is a solid attack, but combined with it being a Fire Pokémon you have a card that is sure to see some level of play. I would expect some decks to switch their 4 Catcher to 2-2 Ninetales. It won’t go in every deck, but it should be in decks that already play Laser and can easily accommodate Fire Energy.

It seems people are pretty evenly split on Pokémon Catcher turning into a coin flip. I personally think it’s going to be extremely good for the game and will make a ton of new decks viable. It’s also going to bring some strong slower evolution and tier 2 decks back into the spotlight of tier 1. I understand the skepticism, but all I can really say is have some faith. Many of us old timers that played back in the Pokémon Reversal format absolutely loved it and I’m sure you will too.

Playing Best-of-Three

Also before I jump into discussing decks I want to discuss the new tournament rules and some strategies you can use to your advantage. Regionals is going to be the first major tournament of this year using the brand new tournament system.

In the past I have touched lightly on some strategies to use in the best-of-three matches. With every major tournament using the best-of-three system I think it’s extremely important to take a more in-depth look at strategies for this match structure.

The 50 Minute Time Limit

The Klaczynski Open used a 75-minute time limit; normal top cuts are either 60 minutes or 75 minutes depending on the PTO/Head Judge.

To put it simply 50 minutes is not enough time to finish 3 full games of Pokémon and in some cases you might be pushing it to finish 2 games. Something I have been doing lately in testing is timing games against different matchups so I know approximately how long games take. This also gives me a strong indication on when to scoop if I don’t feel I can win Game 1 or Game 2.

Keep in mind that when you test, both players will probably be playing at a consistent pace. I expect to see a lot of stalling at Regionals, so add a few extra minutes to the expected play time.

Knowing When to Scoop

super-scoop-up-neo-genesis-98pokemon-paradijs.com
Scoop with enough time left to complete Game 2.

The idea is pretty basic: Knowing when to forfeit the first game (or second if you won the first) so that you have enough time to play out a second game (and hopefully a third). While it is very simple in theory, it’s far more complex in actual practice.

Previously I didn’t like to scoop until I was sure that there was no way that I could win the game. With shorter time limits that’s no longer a luxury that people can afford. The honest truth is if you lose Game 1 the best you can really hope for is to win Game 2 and settle for a tie in Game 3.

I’d play Game 1 out mostly, but if you’re around 15 or 20 minutes in and you’re sure you’re going to lose, you might want to think about just going for the tie. Taking any longer in Game 1 usually means your opponent will be able to simply slow play Game 2 until time is called for the win.

Keeping Track of Card Counts

With all games playing the best-of-three it might be time to break out that notebook again. I wouldn’t try and figure out your opponent’s entire list, but do keep track of certain card counts. The “important” counts are going to vary depending on what deck you’re playing against, but cards like Tool Scrapper, Max Potion, etc., are pretty standard.

You might also want to pay attention to if you think your opponent is playing less copies of a key card, like only 3 Pokémon Catcher.

Stalling

The last thing I want to say is don’t be afraid to call a judge if you think your opponent is stalling or playing slow. I’ve had people call a judge on me and I’ve called a judge on other people.

The point of calling the judge is to make sure the time is fair for both people and it’s not something that either player should take personally. I know this is harder for some people if they’re more quiet or less vocal, but with such short time limits it’s just something you’re going to have to get used to.

Also for parents, I feel it’s important to make sure your child knows what stalling is, how to recognize it, and what to do (call a judge) if they feel their opponent is stalling or playing slow. A lot of kids in the younger age divisions play slow just because they’re younger and might not even be stalling on purpose.

Regardless of age it’s important to never accuse your opponent of playing slow as this usually leads to an argument and wastes more time on the clock.

Darkrai/Garbodor

In untimed games Darkrai/Garbodor might be the best deck in the format. It has answers against every major deck in the current format and plays a very strong control game. The deck’s biggest weakness is not what it’s playing against, but rather the clock. Unless both you and your opponent are playing at a good pace the deck will have an extremely hard time playing two full games of Pokémon in 50 minutes.

Pokémon – 11

4 Sableye DEX
2 Darknessrai-EX
1 Absol PLF
2 Trubbish DRX
2 Garbodor DRX

Trainers – 41

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Skyla
1 Ghetsis
3 Random Receiver

 

3 Float Stone

1 Dark Claw
1 Silver Mirror

1 Tool Scrapper

 

3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Dark Patch
3 Ultra Ball

2 Enhanced Hammer

1 Switch
1 Energy Search
1 Max Potion

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 8

8 Darkness

I actually started writing this article about a week before Lex posted his K.O. report. I was shocked at how similar our two lists were without me even seeing his first. Apparently we had a lot of the same thoughts about card choices and counts in relation to matchups. With a similar list doing well at a big event, it made me feel better that I had many of the right choices.

As you can see my list has changed dramatically since my last SixPrizes article, but the main strategy hasn’t. I still believe the focus of this decks needs to revolve around hiding behind multiple copies of Sableye repeatedly using Junk Hunt to control the opponent while allowing damage from Hypnotoxic Laser to add up.

4 Sableye DEX

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Yep, you’re the star buddy!

The card is your ideal starter and you’ll usually want 1 active and a 2nd one on your bench to replace the active one if it gets Knocked Out. Playing less than 4 decreases your odds of starting with it. Also if one is prized it makes it becomes more difficult to loop them.

2 Darkrai EX

Only 2 copies of Darkrai EX may seem low, but since the deck plays Super Rod and has a high dependence on Sableye it works well.

1 Absol PLF

I know Lex played a full 3 copies of Darkrai EX, but I find the 2-1 split to be superior. Without Energy Switch in the format and the deck only playing 3 Dark Patch it is extremely hard to play a Darkrai EX down and get 3 Energy under it in 1 turn.

It is much easier to get the 2 Energy in play and Absol is an extremely effective attacker against Plasma, especially when you need to get rid of major threats like Kyurem and Promo Landorus. It’s also useful in other matchups as well. Combined with Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank it’s very easy to set up 1HKO’s or 2HKO’s.

Note: On November 8th, with the new rules changes, playing strong non-EX attackers will become even more important because it will be harder to Catcher around them. I don’t see myself playing more than 1, but if you’re currently on the fence about Absol now the new rules should make you like the card more.

2 Trubbish DRX

I use the 70 HP Trubbish because I’m scared of being donked. I don’t think you’d ever need to go 2 Garbage Collection Trubbish, but a happy medium might be a 1-1 split. It would still give you the Garbage Collection option and at the same time only 1 copy would decrease your odds of starting with it.

2 Skyla

The deck plays so many 1-ofs and 2-ofs in the Trainer lineup, and it’s really important to have a way to search them out. Items like Enhanced Hammer and Pokémon Tools are key in certain matchups, so you want to be able to draw them when needed.

1 Ghetsis

ghetsis-full-art-plasma-freeze-plf-115
Gotta love mind games.

I could write an entire article on this card, especially in the best-of-three format, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep this discussion a bit shorter than that. Darkrai is just about the only deck I would ever consider for Ghetsis. The thing that might surprise many of you is that I play the card for the psychological aspect just as much as I play the card for its usefulness.

Let’s start by looking at the card’s obvious uses. It’s extremely good in the mirror match where Junk Hunting is going to be common. I would say on average in mirror I’ll net anywhere from 2-5 cards depending on the point in the game.

I also like it a lot against Blastoise as it makes it very hard for them to have a strong following turn. Tool Scrapper alone doesn’t do much for Blastoise unless they also have either a lot of Energy or a Superior Energy Retrieval. By playing Ghetsis I make sure they can’t hold 1-of the 2 cards while using Skyla for the other. It forces them to play a draw card like Juniper and hope to hit both a Scrapper and SER to make a big play.

Now let’s look at the psychological aspect of the card (especially in a best-of-three format). First off I don’t even need Ghetsis in my hand to impact how my opponent plays their cards. By simply knowing that I play Ghetsis (and not knowing how many) they are forced to keep their hands almost entirely Item free. This can force them to preemptively play Item cards before they can get full usage out of them. Common examples of this would be playing a Pokémon Catcher before absolutely having to or playing Ultra Ball just because they don’t want it in their hand.

I actually think the card is even better once it gets in the discard pile. A very common play is to Junk Hunt for an Item you want and then a Dowsing Machine. Junk Hunting the Dowsing Machine gives you more options on the following turn while at the same time doesn’t telegraph a play you might be looking to make.

On your opponent’s turn a simple question like “How many cards are in your hand?” might get them thinking you’re going to go for the Ghetsis on the following turn, when in reality you have no intention of doing so.

By playing 1 copy of Ghetsis I can get both the real application rewards as well as the psychological benefit without overcommitting to a card my opponent can play around to a certain degree.

1 Dowsing Machine

Normally I put 1 Computer Search in just about every deck, but in this deck you just about have to play Dowsing Machine. You play so many key 1-ofs like Switch and Max Potion. Also it gives the deck so much more flexibility with Junk Hunt targets. Being able to reuse key disruption cards like N and Ghetsis is huge for a control deck like this one.

1 Max Potion

max-potion-emerging-powers-epo-94pokemon-paradijs.com
A swing card (i.e. a card that can near instantly win you a game).

Up until a few days ago I ran 9 Energy and no Max Potion. However, I really hated how the deck had no healing cards. Most games I played with the deck would come down to the last Prize or two. In some of these games my opponent would be able to steal a victory by KO’ing a damaged Pokémon even though I had control of the game.

The one Max Potion lets me set up plays where I can retreat a Darkrai EX for Sableye, then use Max Potion on Darkrai EX before Junk Hunting for 2 Dark Patches. On the following turn I could have a fully powered Darkrai EX again only giving up the Sableye as a Prize instead of the 2 Prizes from Darkrai EX. This is only one of many useful situations in which I found myself using Max Potion.

8 Darkness Energy

When I first saw Dustin Zimmerman’s list from Worlds I scoffed at how he could only play 8 Darkness Energy. However, after heavily testing the deck and having the heavy Sableye focus I find that 8 Energy is the perfect number. The 2 copies of Skyla and the 1 copy of Energy Search also make the low Energy count more manageable.


Darkrai/Garbodor is a deck that really requires you to spend the time testing each individual matchup. The deck doesn’t have one linear strategy and it tackles each matchup differently. Against Plasma you might try to run them out of Energy, against Blastoise you might try to lock a Pokémon active, and against mirror it can be extremely dangerous to even drop Garbodor.

These are all decisions that you have to make and the best thing about best-of-three is that you can adjust your strategy from game to game depending on how your opponent is playing and what you find out about their deck.

Matchups

I want to give a rundown of how you should approach each of the top 4 decks in the format: Blastoise, Plasma, Genesect/Virizion, and of course the Darkrai/Garbodor mirror.

Darkrai/Garbodor Mirror

You want to start mirror out like you do any other matchup and focus on early game Junk Hunts. I like to transition into Darkrai EX as fast as possible, which is realistically turn 3 or turn 4.

One of the harder things about this matchup is knowing when or if to drop Garbodor. A strategy I picked up from Dan Richards at Regionals this past year was to simply bench a Trubbish and then attach a Tool to it. This play “threatens” the Garbodor and forces your opponent to play accordingly. Normally this isn’t a big enough threat in mirror for them to actually Catcher/KO it compared to a more dangerous target, but occasionally they will.

You can make some really great plays by Catchering a Darkrai active, shutting off its Ability, and then using Hypnotoxic Laser. Remember though this play shuts off your own Darkrai EX and can open you up to the same plays. Resource management is extremely important in this matchup. You play 3 Float Stone, 1 Switch, 1 Tool Scrapper, and 1 Dowsing Machine to stop them from trapping you active, but it’s very easy to burn through those if you’re not careful.

Note: On your first search it’s very important to check to see if your 1 Switch, 1 Tool Scrapper, and 1 Dowsing Machine are all in your deck. These are 3 very big cards in this matchup. Due to how often Laser will be played, being able to get out of it every time is key. Tool Scrapper helps by controlling your opponent’s access to Float Stone.

Main Points

  • Bench 1 Trubbish
  • Catcher/Laser Darkrais
  • Always have a 2nd Sableye down
  • Check for Switch, Tool Scrapper, and Dowsing Machine in your deck
  • Be careful not to get in a situation where your opponent can lock a Garbodor active

Techs

Blastoise

garbodor-thunder-knuckle-bw8-56pokeca-japan.ocnk.biz
Not what Blastoise wants to see.

The Blastoise matchup is extremely favorable, but it’s important not to be overconfident because it’s far from an auto-win. As always your early game strategy should be to Junk Hunt with Sableye. It’s very important to bench at least 2 Trubbish in this matchup. If you don’t it’s very possible for the Blastoise player to Scrapper your Tool and then Catcher/KO a Garbodor with . Without a second Trubbish down it’s very hard to follow that play up.

Setting up Garbodor takes precedence in this matchup over setting up Darkrai or Absol. If you can set up Garbodor before your opponent gets Blastoise into play their odds of winning go way down. If they get Blastoise into play before you get Garbodor then they get a free turn to Deluge without having to waste a Tool Scrapper.

Once Garbodor is on the field this is just another great control matchup for the deck. It’s a lot of Catcher stalling while allowing Laser damage to build up. I do normally like to get at least 30 or 60 damage on Keldeos just so I can deal with a big turn if my opponent draws Tool Scrapper. As long as they are not too far ahead the Black Kyurem EX really isn’t that big of a deal.

Just make sure besides your Garbodor you have at least 1 additional Trubbish in play (or ideally a second Garbodor). Never give your opponent that opening to remove your only Garbodor from the field.

Note: Normally your Catcher/Laser targets will be whatever your opponent is attaching Energy to.

Note: Most Blastoise players will play 2 Tool Scrappers. Some might play Dowsing Machine as their ACE SPEC. Keep track of these cards when your opponent has played them or has been forced to discard them.

Main Points

  • Go for Garbodor first
  • Always have second Trubbish/Garbodor in play
  • Keep track of the opponent’s Tool Scrapper/Dowsing Machine counts
  • Catcher/Laser threats your opponent is building up

Techs

Plasma

I really enjoy playing the Plasma matchup (it’s right behind the mirror for me in terms of enjoyability). The main strategy is to run them out of Energy by Catchering Pokémon they have a hard time getting out of the Active position and then repeatedly using Junk Hunt to get back Enhanced Hammer. Plasma will rarely play a counter Stadium so it’s very easy to keep a Virbank in play and allow Laser damage to add up.

The entire matchup is control based and is one of the best matchups for somebody new to the deck to play since it really helps them to understand how to play the control game. Plasma is always going to be faster, so don’t try to out speed them.

It’s also very important to feel comfortable playing from behind. I’ve been down 5 Prizes before, but since I’ve had such great control of the field I’ve come back and won. The main focus needs to be to play that control game and then clean up with Darkrai EX at the end.

Note: One of the biggest threats for you is going to be Kyurem. By allowing your opponent to simply have one Blend/Prism on Kyurem it opens up the play where they can attach and Colress Machine for a Blizzard Burn on the next turn. Keeping track of your opponent’s Colress Machines can really help determine how likely this play is.

Main Points

  • Catcher targets they have a hard time getting out of the Active position
  • Try to run them out of Energy with Junk Hunt and Enhanced Hammer
  • Use Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank to build up Poison damage
  • Once you have control of the game clean up with a Darkrai EX

Techs

Genesect/Virizion

g-booster-plasma-blast-plb-92
Your only worry.

I would consider this matchup slightly favorable. Due to the slower speed of the deck it’s usually T3 before they are able to score a crucial knockout. Pokémon with 170 HP are the bread and butter for Darkrai decks as they almost always lead to favorable KO situations. If you’re looking to improve this matchup even further drop the 1 Silver Mirror and add in a second copy of Dark Claw.

This is a matchup where it’s really important to get a quick Garbodor into play. You really need to shut off Virizion’s Ability and allow Hypnotoxic Laser to build up (setting up the 1HKO’s). After just 2 turns of Laser (60 damage) you can 1HKO the Pokémon with Darkrai and a Dark Claw.

The really nice thing about this matchup is that your opponent can’t really drop an attacker out of nowhere. You’re always going to see what’s coming and the biggest threat they can throw at you is a Genesect EX with G Booster. It seems the standard is 1 G Booster and 1 Shadow Triad. I wouldn’t expect more than 2 Shadow Triad honestly.

If they drop a G Booster it’s going to be very important to Tool Scrapper it instantly and then Junk Hunt the Tool Scrapper back. Once you hit both G Boosters they max out at around 100 damage, which means little if you’re setting up multiple KO’s with Darkrai EX. I’ve commonly taken 4 Prize turns in this matchup by smartly setting up KO’s.

The strategy I’ve been using is to Catcher the Genesect EX as soon as they drop it and attack to it. Sure, they might have the G Booster KO, but you can’t let them bring up an undamaged Genesect EX and KO a fresh Darkrai. You really have to get damage on it before they swing with it.

Main Points

Techs

Plasma

The reason I like Plasma so much right now is that I feel it’s the fastest deck in the format. This is extremely important with the new rule changes and how ties will work. Winning Game 1 is extremely important because then you simply need to control Game 2 and try not to let it finish. However, if you lose Game 1 it’s extremely important to get out of the gate fast in Game 2.

I don’t think Plasma is still the best deck in the format, but it can deal with the new time restraints better than the other big three decks in the format.

Pokémon – 12

4 Deoxys-EX
3 Kyurem PLF
2 Thundurus-EX PLF
1 Absol PLF
1 Landorus BW79
1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Colress
2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Colress Machine
3 Float Stone

1 Switch
2 Team Plasma Ball

1 Ultra Ball
2 Silver Bangle

1 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Max Potion

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

4 Prism
4 Blend WLFM
4 Plasma

I really agree with John that Plasma has been beaten into the ground with all of our deck coverage. I’ve already covered this deck in great detail in a recent article. Most lists are all within a few cards of each other, but I feel it’s often overlooked how those few card differences have huge impacts. I want to highlight a few cards that I think all Plasma decks need to run right now, but often I see missing from lists.

1 Promo Landorus

landorus black white promo bw79pokemon-paradijs.com
Am I preaching to the choir yet?

Most people don’t seem to like this card and I can’t figure out why. It very realistically can 1HKO a Darkrai EX. I understand that Kyurem can do the same thing, but the 2 vs. 3 Energy are huge. Most Darkrai/Garbodor decks are playing 2 or 3 Enhanced Hammers, which makes it very hard to get 3 Energy in play.

Also you can drop Promo Landorus in one turn, which is something that you can never do with Kyurem. I really think the deck has to play the card to stay 50-50 against Darkrai/Garbodor.

1 Max Potion

The card is all around good and easily searchable. Having the ability to deny Prizes against Darkrai/Garbodor and mirror is extremely important.

1 Hypnotoxic Laser

I know that the one copy of Hypnotoxic Laser might look out of place. However, against Darkrai/Garbodor they will have Virbank in play almost the entire game. Playing a single copy allows for a KO against Sableye with Thundurus and a single Deoxys-EX. It can also be useful against the mirror if they are playing Laser/Bank.

By playing only a single copy we’re not overly committing to the Laser strategy, but it plays a key role in the Darkrai/Garbodor matchup.

0 Landorus-EX

I tested this card and found it to be decent against Darkrai/Garbodor, but you can’t ever really get 3 Energy on it. It’s also a huge liability against mirror and Blastoise. It’s just not worth the spot in my opinion.

4 Colress

This is the last card that I want to hit on in the deck breakdown. I personally prefer a very high 4 copies of Colress. However, I see many of the other Underground writers are playing much lower counts of the card. There are some rare situations where the card will net you less than 3, but I would say these situations are less than 20%. In many cases Colress will net you 5-9 cards pretty consistently. After turn 3 this is by far the best Supporter in the deck.

Normally I’m not very risky with my Supporters, but I feel with the large bench sizes these days that 4 copies are completely warranted.

Matchups

Darkrai/Garbodor

mc hammer platinum
Deny the Hammer.

This matchup is extremely tough, but the key is to stop them from looping Enhanced Hammer. Missing Enhanced Hammer even for a turn or two is critical. Basically every time they Junk Hunt an Enhanced Hammer back you need to try and N them.

It’s also extremely important to try and limit your bench space. Darkrai really likes to try and use the “Catcher/Stall” strategy when it’s attempting to run you out of Energy. Only bench key Pokémon early game, ideally 2 Thundurus EX and 1 Deoxys-EX. In the later stages of the game it will be important to transition into other attackers, but in the early game you should be simply using 1 Thundurus EX to power up a second.

Main Points

  • Don’t give your opponent “Catcher/Stall” targets
  • N when they Junk Hunt Enhanced Hammer back
  • Try and set up Promo Landorus in one turn and not give your opponent a chance to Catcher/KO it
  • Early pressure is key

Techs

Blastoise

My strategy against Blastoise is still to win the game by KO’ing 3 Pokémon-EX. I really prefer to utilize my non-EX attackers that my opponent has to deal with like Absol and Kyurem. The worst situation for me is if my opponent can steamroll me by KO’ing 3 Pokémon-EX with Black Kyurem.

This is another matchup where the early pressure is extremely important. Blastoise is near impossible to beat once it’s fully set up. It’s very important to N nearly every time they take a Prize with Black Kyurem. Hopefully with 1-of the N’s you’ll put them in a predicament where they won’t have the out to the Superior Energy Retrieval.

This matchup really isn’t favorable or unfavorable; it all comes down to how quickly your opponent gets Blastoise into play.

Main Points

  • Early Pressure
  • Focus on KO’ing 3 Pokémon-EX
  • N when they take a Prize (especially when they have 3 or less remaining)

Techs

Plasma Mirror

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Be more aggressive than this.

The mirror match is still an important matchup which you will likely run into during Regionals and is one of the reasons I haven’t strongly considered going with a heavy Frozen City count. Personally against the mirror I like to be very aggressive. I lead with Thundurus EX while normally powering up a Kyurem.

In this matchup Thundurus EX and Kyurem are going to be your aggressive attackers while Absol, Landorus, and Deoxys-EX are going to be reactive. What I mean by this is that your aggressive attackers are the ones you want to be leading with while your reactive attackers are used to counter your opponent if the opening presents itself.

There will be situations in the mirror where Landorus can KO a Thundurus or Absol, Deoxys can counter opposing Deoxys, while Absol can usually KO anything that has already taken a hit. All 3 are far better reactive attackers than proactive attackers. It’s really important to watch for these types of situations to present themselves.

Main Points

  • Don’t attach more than 1 Energy to Deoxys-EX
  • They can threaten a Blizzard Burn with only 1 Energy on Kyurem
  • Lead with proactive attackers
  • Watch for openings for reactive attackers

Techs

Genesect/Virizion

This matchup is pretty straightforward as they are Genesect is slightly slower than you. Early aggression is the key in this matchup because if you give them time to set up they can steamroll you with Drifblims. You need to target their Drifloons as soon as they play them down. They have low HP so KOing them usually isn’t a problem and their Weakness to Darkness makes Absol the perfect counter.

Once again G Booster can cause some problems for you, but by playing 2 copies of Tool Scrapper it usually isn’t too hard to access to one. (Or you can simply Knock Out their Genesect).

Techs

  • 2nd Absol

Conclusion

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I’m stoked!

Right now I’m really loving the format and the long, drawn-out, back and forth games it offers. Though this leads into my next point about how much I hate 50 minute rounds and how common tie games are going to be. Even slightly increasing the time limits to 60 minutes or ideally 75 minutes would dramatically improve our tournament experiences in my opinion.

A lot of the changes TPCi have implemented lately, such as best-of-three Swiss and new tournament round structure which keeps some semblance of a Top 32, have been excellent. I think TPCi is really listening to the player base and making some great changes. Despite not liking the time limits, I feel after Regionals it will be apparent how bad 50 minutes is and there will be an increase the round times. It’s too bad that Regionals (and not a smaller tournaments series, like Cities) has to be used to “test” the new tournament structure.

Speaking of changes, I’m extremely excited about the rule changes coming on November 8th and plan on covering them in more detail as the date gets closer. I know some people are extremely skeptical of the new Pokémon Catcher ruling, but all I can say is have faith.

Many of us old timers loved the formats where we had Pokémon Reversal, but not Pokémon Catcher. Hopefully in time Pokémon will get more back to the “old ways” where games were designed around setting up strong Stage 2 Pokémon and using powerful Abilities.

In closing, this is the most excited and optimistic I’ve been for the future of Pokémon in quite some time. In the meantime Regionals is quickly sneaking up on us. Despite being a bit slow, I would play Darkrai/Garbodor, as it’s completely my playstyle. Regardless of what deck you choose, I want to wish you the best of luck.

Many people think 500 Championship Points is an unreachable goal, but I really don’t think it is. It just means that players are going to have to work harder and travel more. A strong showing at the first set of Regionals is an excellent way to start the season off and move one step closer to that coveted Worlds invite.


…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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